Deadly Flock gang turf wars with rival criminals turned Chapeltown streets into 'Prohibition era Chicago'

Deadly rivalry between Flock members and rival gangsters led to modern-day Chapeltown being compared to Chicago of the 1920s and 1930s.

By Tony Gardner
Monday, 29th July 2019, 1:22 pm
Levite Manaka makes Flock gang sign during rap video filmed outside drug and guns safe house on Wykebeck Valley Road
Levite Manaka makes Flock gang sign during rap video filmed outside drug and guns safe house on Wykebeck Valley Road

During the murder trial over the death of Christopher Lewis the district north of Leeds city was likened to the mafia-controlled US city of the Great Depression era.

The trial heard of running street battles in which young men attacked each other in public with fearsome weapons.

Those involved were oblivious to the levels of fear and danger they posed to innocent members of the public as intense rivalries spilled out of control.

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Levite Manaka makes Flock gang sign during rap video filmed outside drug and guns safe house on Wykebeck Valley Road

Mr Lewis - described as a "prolific drug dealer" - is the second Flock member to be executed in public in a revenge attack.

Raheem Wilks was shot and killed in a cold-blooded murder outside a barbers shop in Harehills 18 months earlier.

Others Flock members are serving long prison sentences for firearms offences committed during turf war disputes.

Police first became aware of the existence of the Flock around six years ago.

Loaded firearm which was found in possession of Dwight Halliday. The weapon was intended for use as part of a drugs 'turf war'.

There are thought to be around 50 Flock members who are typically young Afro-Caribbean males in their teens to late twenties.

Unlike most gangs, they "openly advertise" their involvement in the class A drugs trade and use of firearms.

The kudos and status they crave is often reflected in posts on social media of members posing in front of flash cars and with bags of designer clothes.

Rap music also forms part of the gang's culture.

Flock member Raheem Wilks was murdered in a shooting at Too Sharps barbers, Harehills, in January 2017

One member of the organised crime group was bold enough to appear in a rap video at the flat in Leeds which was used a safe house to store drugs and weapons.

During the trial Richard Barraclough, QC, representing Jonathan Gledhill, asked police expert PC Edward Crompton, if the killings of Mr Wilks and Mr Lewis resembled Chicago in the 1920s and 1930s "where people are just shot in the street."PC Crompton replied: "It has happened."

Flock gang members spoken about during the trial included:

Lavite Manaka

Shotgun was among an arsenal of deadly weapons seized at house linked to Flock member Emmanuel Gardiner.

The aspiring rap artist appeared in a music video performed at a flat which he used as a ‘drugs factory’ to package crack cocaine and heroin to sell on the streets of Leeds.

Manaka was locked up for six years in 2017 after pleading guilty to a drug supply conspiracy.

He was the ringleader in charge of a 24-hour ‘ring and bring’ dealer line.

Performing his song, called Designers, Manaka is filmed in front of the one-bedroom flat.

Song lyrics boast about drugs and cash.

Gun case and ammunition among an arsenal of deadly weapons seized at house linked to Flock member Emmanuel Gardiner.

At the start of the video he makes the distinctive 'F' Flock signal with his right hand.

Manaka - a Congolese national - also appears to smoke cannabis and waves a wad of £20 notes.

Armed police searched the house and seized heroin and crack cocaine which had been packaged into individual wraps inside bun cases.

Officers discovered a ‘drug dealer kit’ which was used to prepare and package drugs.

A food blender, mixing bowl, ice cream scoop and latex gloves were all contaminated with the drugs.

Mobile phones seized from Manaka revealed his role as the main operator of the ‘Rico’ drug dealer line.

People calling the number were able to arrange round-the-clock delivery.

Raheem Wilks

Raheem Wilks was murdered in a shooting at Too Sharps barbers in Harehills in January 2017.

Mr Wilks was also a member of The Flock to which Christopher Lewis belonged.

Jaydn Manners and two other men - Keal Richards and Tremaine Wisdom - were convicted of the murder of Mr Wilks.

Jurors at a trial in November 2017 heard the trio carried out the killing as Mr Wilks was a member of the Flock.

Five months before Mr Wilks's murder, Keal Richards had been the victim of a shooting and believed Flock members to have been responsible for the attack.

The three men were driven to the Chapeltown area after being told of Mr Wilks's whereabouts before Manners used a self-loading pistol to fire the fatal shot.

After the shooting Manners drove to Bradford and disposed of the weapon and his clothing.

Richards went to Leeds General Infirmary for physiotherapy on the shooting injuries he had previously suffered.

Richards made a Snapchat recording after the killing referring to a shooting in a barber's shop and gave a "whoop of delight or celebration."

Emmanuel Gardiner

Gardiner is serving a ten year sentence for drug and firearms charges after a deadly arsenal of weapons was discovered at a house in Leeds in April 2016.

West Yorkshire Police were called out to reports of a man being slashed and threatened with a handgun during a robbery on Kitson Close, Wortley.

Police marksmen stopped Gardiner, then aged 22, and another man in a Vauxhall Astra during a search of the area.

A bag was found in the vehicle which contained wraps of crack cocaine and heroin.

Gardiner was found to be in possession of a lock-knife and was also carrying a balaclava.

Officers found ‘business cards’ purporting to be for a flower delivery company.

The card promised ‘speedy 24-hour delivery’ and was clearly a front for a drug dealing operation.

Police then forced their way into a house on Fawcett Bank, Wortley.

Weapons and ammunition were found hidden in bags in the wardrobe.

They included a Smith and Wesson police and army-issue revolver containing four bullet cases, and a single gauge pump action shot gun.

The bag also contained a wooden box with a foam lining which had an empty space for a Heckler and Koch self-loading pistol.

The box also contained illegal gun components for the weapon including a silencer and expanding ammunition.

Cocaine, MDMA and a large amount of cutting agents were also found hidden inside Asda and Morrisons bags for life.

Gardiner pleaded guilty to 12 drug and firearms charges and was jailed for ten years.

Dwight Halliday

Halliday was given a life sentence after being caught in possession of a loaded firearm which he planned to use to kill or maim rivals in a revenge turf war attack.

The 33-year-old was a leading figure in the Flock.

Undercover police watched as Halliday handed a loaded Russian-made Baikal 9mm semi automatic pistol, along with a silencer, to Reece Liburd on St Mary's Road, Chapeltown.

Officers had followed Liburd after he got into a taxi in the Holbeck area of the city and travelled to meet Halliday before being handed the weapon.

Armed police then stopped the taxi as Liburd travelled away from the area and arrested him in possession of the weapon and ammunition.

Halliday was arrested in his Audi on Water Lane, near Leeds city centre.

Evidence linking him to the gun was found inside the vehicle, including a pair of gloves containing his DNA and gunshot residue.

Less than a month earlier, on August 16, 2016, Halliday was shot at as he drove a Vauxhall Astra hire car that was being pursued at high speed by an Audi S3 in rush-hour traffic on Roundhay Road.

A passenger in the Audi fired what was believed to be a handgun at Halliday before the Audi crashed into the Astra and drove off at speed.

Halliday abandoned the Astra and sought refuge in nearby shops. The Audi was later found burnt out.

Police recovered the Astra and found a spent bullet in the boot.

Judge Christopher Batty told Halliday he was imposing the life term in a bid to deter others from becoming involved in gun crime.

He said: “This chain of events was the result of feuding, gang style behaviour."

Halliday, of Arthington Street, Hunslet, was found guilty by a jury of two offences of possession of a firearm and one of possession of ammunition with intent to cause fear of violence.

He was told he must serve a minimum of eight and a half years in custody before he can apply to the Parole Board for release.

Michael Ojengbede

Ojengbede was among four gang members jailed in April 2016 after police found £24,000 worth of class A drugs as they investigated a shooting in which a man was blasted in the face with a sawn-off shotgun.

The discovery was made as officers made enquiries in the hours after Adeel Ahmed was left with 80 pellet wounds to his chest, back and neck after being shot.

Ojengbede, then aged 19, was arrested after being stopped in a taxi by officers investigating the shooting.

He ran from the vehicle and threw away two mobile phones containing messages about supply as well as an “accounting record” of people who owed the gang money.

The arrest led police to the house on Brander Street, which was searched and the drugs were found in packages around the house along with amounts of cash.

Ojengbede was jailed for four years after admitting three offences of possession of a class A drug with intent to supply.L'Mel Harding

Drug dealer Harding was caught with £3,000 of class A drugs at his home the day before he was due in court on other charges.

He was arrested when officers from Leeds District Quartz Team, a specialist unit tackling gun and drug crime, executed a warrant at a house he was living at in Oxton Way, Burmantofts, on June 23.

Officers found 187 wraps of crack cocaine worth £2,790 on the bed and seized £2,166 in cash.

Heroin was also found, bringing the total value of recovered drugs to just over £3,000.

Drugs paraphernalia was found in the kitchen which suggested Harding had produced the crack himself from cocaine.

A number of mobile phones were also seized along with a set of digital scales.

He was interviewed by officers but refused to answer any questions and was subsequently charged to appear at the crown court.

Harding has previous drugs convictions and had been due to appear at Crown court on separate drugs charges the day after he was arrested.

Revolver was among weapons seized at house linked to Flock member Emmanuel Gardiner.